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Pakistani Activists Say Nearly 1,000 Killed In Karachi Violence In 2011

Onlookers gather near a burning vehicle in a troubled area of Karachi
Onlookers gather near a burning vehicle in a troubled area of Karachi
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) says some 970 people have been killed in the ongoing violence in Pakistan's port city of Karachi this year, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

HRCP's Asad Iqbal Butt told RFE/RL on August 8 that most of the killings were reported from the Kali Pahari and Kathi Pahari areas of Karachi's Qasaba Colony.

Kali Pahari is largely populated by Pashtuns and the nearby Kathi Pahari area is mainly populated by Urdu-speakers.

Butt maintained that most of the local population involved in the violence does not know who starts the fighting or the reasons for the killing and injuring of innocent civilians.

"Our survey in the area revealed that the people want peace," he said. "They told us that they are living with each other for years in peace. They don't know who is killing the civilians and burning down their houses and businesses."

Referring to the tension between the Urdu- and Pashto-speaking populations in the region, Butt said both sides are involved in the deadly violence.

But he added that the Pashto population in the Kali Pahari district are the group that has been the most badly affected by the recent fighting.

The seaport of Karachi is Pakistan's largest city with a population of some 18 million people. Pashtuns are the city's second-largest ethnic group behind the Urdu-speaking Muhajirs, who are Muslim immigrants from India.